Why is it imperative to have a company Email Policy? It is simply good business, that’s why.
Having a clear and detailed email policy in place is critical for the long term. As a result, you can enforce or react to situations that may arise at a later date.
Smart Business Practices
Let’s assume you have the best folks in the world working for you. You know them and trust them. That still does not negate the need for having a Business Email Etiquette policy in place. Actually, that’s more of a reason to have one.
Employees understand and appreciate having policies in place to guide them. Moreover, to help them avoid any potential problems.
The best-case scenario is that you will never need to refer to your policy statement due to employee behavior. However, if you find yourself in that situation down the road, you will be relieved you have terms and conditions in place for your protection.
Technology is part of the workplace now, including internet and email access. Employees using your network, equipment, and brand’s email address every day, all day.
This makes it easy for employees to surf the web on company time. They can share non-business-related emails and links, in some cases becoming less efficient and not paying attention to the job at hand. Similarly, this can lead to circulating unnecessary and/or inappropriate messages and illegally copying sensitive business content.
Improper business email activities can lead to:
- Claims of sexual harassment and discrimination. We all receive emails by contacts with the latest joke or meme. Some of which can be misunderstood, offensive or are not appropriate in a professional environment.
- Misaddressed messages that lead to the intentional or inadvertent release of trade secrets. One typo, dot, dash, or space where it shouldn’t be. Folks typo email addresses all the time. Your business then risks sensitive company information or inappropriate NSFW (Not Safe For Work) content is exposed outside of the company.
- Network and spam issues. Employees who do not use your business technology within established protocols or misbehave using a company email address. Subsequently, this can cause providers to blacklist or cancel your accounts due to complaints.
- Copyright infringement issues along with the possible legalities that can ensue. Copyright is one of the most misunderstood issues online. To take or use content or images without the original creator’s/author’s permission is copyright infringement.
Abuse of email may also lead to:
- Creating a negative perception of your business image, legitimacy, and credibility. Do not underestimate the power of perception as it relates to your business’ email activities.
- Drain on limited storage and resource capabilities.
- Slower response times for legitimate business activities. Employees lose focus on priorities and customer service.
- Waste of computer resources. Large gratuitous downloads can negatively impact your storage and bandwidth allowances, not to mention lower employee productivity.
- Email forgery. All company emails should use your dot com/net/org to identify all employees, including a standardized permanent email signature that all employees use with each email that they send.
Business Email Policy Basics
Any email policy should start with the basics. You will want to review each carefully and then jot down and add the specifics unique to your business.
- Specify that the computer and email system are for authorized purposes only. State clearly that while on company time use of Company equipment is solely for business activities related to the performance of an employee’s job responsibilities.
- Set clear expectations of employee privacy. Trends indicate that most email policies currently in place explicitly include that while on company time, employees should not expect to have any privacy when using company-owned equipment and resources.
- Establish monitoring as the right of the employer. Employes should expect and acknowledge this fact.
- Make sure employees understand to avoid improper use of copyright-protected material.
- Outline the specific types of content that employees need to avoid in their email communications.
- Have employees sign and date the email policy. Put a copy in their personnel file and give them a copy to have on hand for reference purposes.
Be Smart and Have a Business Email Policy
For more details and guidance, check out my Business Email Etiquette eBook. My eBook also includes a complete Business Email Policy for you to tailor to your specific needs.
By having an email policy in place, you will ensure employees know all the issues and best practices necessary to email properly when using your company’s resources to communicate online.